P.L. 1997, CHAPTER 76, approved April 24, 1997
Senate, No. 1531
An Act concerning hospital patients, amending P.L.1989, c.170 and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 2 of P.L.1989, c.170 (C.26:2H-12.8) is amended to read as follows:
2. Every person admitted to a general hospital as licensed by the State Department of Health and Senior Services pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et al.) shall have the right:
a. To considerate and respectful care consistent with sound nursing and medical practices, which shall include being informed of the name and licensure status of a student nurse or facility staff member who examines, observes or treats the patient;
b. To be informed of the name of the physician responsible for coordinating his care;
c. To obtain from the physician complete, current information concerning his diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis in terms he can reasonably be expected to understand. When it is not medically advisable to give this information to the patient, it shall be made available to another person designated by the patient on his behalf;
d. To receive from the physician information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment and which, except for those emergency situations not requiring an informed consent, shall include as a minimum the specific procedure or treatment, the medically significant risks involved, and the possible duration of incapacitation, if any, as well as an explanation of the significance of the patient's informed consent. The patient shall be advised of any medically significant alternatives for care or treatment, however, this does not include experimental treatments that are not yet accepted by the medical establishment;
e. To refuse treatment to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the medical consequences of this act;
f. To privacy to the extent consistent with providing adequate medical care to the patient. This shall not preclude discussion of a patient's case or examination of a patient by appropriate health care personnel;
g. To privacy and confidentiality of all records pertaining to his treatment, except as otherwise provided by law or third party payment contract, and to access to those records, including receipt of a copy thereof at reasonable cost, upon request, unless his physician states in writing that access by the patient is not medically advisable;
h. To expect that within its capacity, the hospital will make reasonable response to his request for services, including the services of an interpreter in a language other than English if 10% or more of the population in the hospital's service area speaks that language;
i. To be informed by his physician of any continuing health care requirements which may follow discharge and to receive assistance from the physician and appropriate hospital staff in arranging for required follow-up care after discharge;
j. To be informed by the hospital of the necessity of transfer to another facility prior to the transfer and of any alternatives to it which may exist, which transfer shall not be effected unless it is determined by the physician to be medically necessary;
k. To be informed, upon request, of other health care and educational institutions that the hospital has authorized to participate in his treatment;
l. To be advised if the hospital proposes to engage in or perform human research or experimentation and to refuse to participate in these projects. For the purposes of this subsection "human research" does not include the mere collecting of statistical data;
m. To examine and receive an explanation of his bill, regardless of source of payment, and to receive information or be advised on the availability of sources of financial assistance to help pay for the patient's care, as necessary;
n. To expect reasonable continuity of care;
o. To be advised of the hospital rules and regulations that apply to his conduct as a patient;
p. To treatment without discrimination as to race, age, religion, sex, national origin, or source of payment; and
q. To contract directly with a New Jersey licensed registered professional nurse of the patient's choosing for private professional nursing care during his hospitalization. A registered professional nurse so contracted shall adhere to hospital policies and procedures in regard to treatment protocols and policies and procedures so long as those policies and procedures are the same for private duty and regularly employed nurses. The registered professional nurse shall not be considered an agent or employee of the hospital for purposes of any financial liabilities, including, but not limited to, State or federal employee taxes, worker's compensation payments or coverage for professional liability.
The hospital, upon a patient's or his designee's request for private professional nursing care, shall provide the patient or his designee with a list of local nonprofit professional nurses association registries that refer nurses for private professional nursing care.
(cf: P.L.1994, c.22, s.1)
2. (New section) A general hospital shall revise the written summary and written notice required pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1989 (C.26:2H-12.9) within 180 days of the effective date of this act to reflect the amendments made to section 2 of P.L.1989, c.170 (C.26:2H-12.8) pursuant to this act.
3. (New section) A general hospital, licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.), shall require a student nurse or facility staff member to wear an identifying badge that includes the person's name and licensure status, and, if appropriate, to verbally identify himself by name and licensure status to the patient and to any guardian or other responsible party when necessary, prior to examining, observing or treating the patient.
4. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill amends P.L.1989, c.170 (C.26:2H-12.8 et seq.) by expanding the bill of rights for general hospital patients. A patient's right to considerate and respectful care consistent with sound nursing and medical practices is expanded to include being informed of the name and licensure status of a student nurse or facility staff member who examines, observes or treats the patient.
Under the provisions of the bill, a general hospital must require a student nurse or facility staff member to wear an identifying badge that includes the person's name and licensure status. If appropriate, the person must verbally identify himself or herself by name and licensure status to the patient and to a guardian or other responsible party, where necessary, prior to examining, observing or treating the patient.
Expands bill of rights for general hospital patients by requiring certain caregivers to wear identifying badges.